Crossing the River : A Conceptual Framework for Response to Chaos
Linthicum, David W.
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This thesis suggests that the existing protocols for initial emergency response to a chaotic event do not take advantage of the decision-making skills of front-line responders. Building from a foundation derived from the concepts of reductionism, holism and the Cynefin framework, a purposeful sample of real-world incidents was examined in an attempt to understand and demonstrate how front-line, emergent decision making can positively impact a chaotic emergency scene. From the research and sampling, a conceptual framework was developed that supports the implementation of a protocol that encourages front-line decision making. The research also identifies a point during the response that signifies entry into the chaotic domain. The REACT framework (respond, engage, act, communicate and transition) is proposed to empower first responders and give them the ability to respond to a crisis when there is not plan. The REACT framework is capable of being implemented at the lowest level of emergency response agencies. The utilization of this framework allows the decision-making skills of responders to develop incrementally. In addition, this thesis suggests that the framework serves as a mechanism to teach critical thinking and decision making.
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